Supernatural Problems

Image used under a Creative Commons license courtesy of striatic.

So, after a hiatus in which I was attempting to do some more substantive reading, I got back to the Southern Vampire mysteries, because I love me some Sookie Stackhouse, and I needed to turn off my brain for a while. And I think it’s too bad that the series, after introducing vampires and shape-shifters, has turned to faeries as its next source of trouble. The thing that was good about Harris’s universe in the first place was its engagement with the conditions of the real world. It makes sense that vampires would be good nightlife impresarios, and that werewolves would be good at rough-and-tumble physical work. Her novels seemed to explain the world, in addition to providing metaphors for exploring religion, politics, sexual orientation, and class.But the problem with the faeries who have showed up in the last couple of books is that they’re so entirely of another universe. They’re the standard gorgeous, supernatural, sometimes extremely vicious creatures from another dimension, but as a result, they don’t latch into the rest of the story. Vampires have a specific physical reaction to them, so there’s continuity, it’s another part of the supernatural world that gets explained. But they don’t add anything to our understanding of our own society. If they were going to, there’s need to be a concept like Will Shetterly’s Bordertown, where we see the engagement and cross-pollination between the world and faerie, where both are changed. I’d actually love to see what Shetterly and Harris got up to together. It’s be fun to see Sookie buy her books at Elswhere and Ron get some mentoring, maybe even a substitute older brother, in Alcide.